By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter –
This story first appeared online on Dec. 31, 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Enjoy live views of the Oklahoma City Zoo’s popular red pandas with return of the Zoo’s online panda cam. Animal lovers worldwide now have the opportunity to enjoy endless hours of watching the Zoo’s endangered red pandas this winter from home.
Experience a virtual visit to the OKC Zoo’s red panda habitat at Sanctuary Asia from your smartphone, computer or tablet to watch Thomas, 7, and his daughter, Khyana, 18-months, as they play and connect with their caretakers and enjoy their favorite weather season, winter.
Now through Sunday, February 28, 2021, get an exclusive real-time look at the Zoo’s adorable red pandas online by visiting okczoo.org/redpandacam .
The red panda cam will stream live daily with optimal viewing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. of either Khyana or Thomas.
Because red pandas are solitary by nature and Khyana has reached an age of maturity, she and Thomas do not share habitat space.
Khyana and her twin brother, Ravi, were born at the Zoo’s Sanctuary Asia habitat on June 2, 2019, to parents Thomas and Leela.
Both Leela and Thomas arrived at the OKC Zoo in 2018 as part of the Red Panda Species Survival Plan™ (SSP). SSP programs were developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to help oversee the husbandry and breeding management and, as a result, the sustainability of select animal species within AZA-member zoos and aquariums, including the OKC Zoo.
Many of these programs help enhance conservation efforts of these species in the wild as well. This year, Leela and Ravi, relocated to other AZA-member zoos as part of the SSP program to help further contribute to the conservation of their species.
In October 2019, Khyana underwent an amputation of her hind, left leg, due to a congenital deformity. She continues to thrive and is extremely active, always exploring her surroundings. Khyana is also eager to engage with her caretakers through training sessions.
Known for being great climbers, red pandas spend most of their lives in trees, even sleeping in branches. Red pandas grow to be about the size of a typical house cat. Their bushy, ringed tails add about 18 inches to their length and serve as a type of blanket keeping them warm in cold mountain climates.
Though previously classified as a relative of the giant panda, and also of the raccoon, with which it shares a ringed tail, red pandas are currently considered members of their own unique taxonomic family—the Ailuridae.
The red panda is listed as an endangered species. Only an estimated 10,000 remain in the wild, and their habitats in remote areas of the Himalayan Mountains, from Nepal to central China, are being threatened by deforestation, agriculture, cattle grazing and competition for resources.
Click on the Zoo’s red panda cam for all the cuteness you can stand! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no public access on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at www.okczoo.org/tickets. Zoo tickets are limited each day to maintain social distancing among guests.
Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.
Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts.
To learn more about Zoo happenings, call 405-424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.